Why do I see firefighters cutting holes in the roof of a building on fire?

This is called "venting the roof." There are two basic reasons for this practice.

Visibility & Breathable Air

Dangerous gases and dark smoke accumulate in a burning building. Unlike the movie versions of fires, it is impossible for firefighters to see in such an environment.

When a hole is made in the roof, the smoke and gases escape because heat and smoke rise which makes it much easier for the firefighters in the building to see. It also reduces the possibilities of backdraft and flashover.

Fire Progress Assessment

Another reason for venting the roof is to see how far the fire has progressed. One of the fastest avenues through which fires spread is the attic.

Heat and smoke rise into the attic where the fire can move quickly. Firefighters may go ahead of the fire on a roof, cut holes to access the attic and stop the fire from spreading through the attic.

Show All Answers

1. Does the Fire Department have Paramedic service?
2. Where are the Fire stations?
3. I see the Carpentersville Fire apparatus in other towns, why is that?
4. Why do the fire trucks sometimes turn lights off and turn around?
5. What are the flashing white lights on top of traffic lights when fire equipment passes?
6. How long should I keep smoke detectors?
7. Where should I place smoke detectors?
8. Should I have an escape ladder for my upper floors?
9. Does the Fire Department offer CPR classes?
10. Does the Village allow open burning?
11. Why do so many fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?
12. Why do I see fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through a red light at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?
13. Why does a fire engine respond when I call for an ambulance?
14. Why do I see firefighters cutting holes in the roof of a building on fire?